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Canadian writer says, “No Marley for me”

A Canadian writer plans to avoid seeing the movie Marley & Me, just as he avoided reading the book. His reasons?

“Spot. Josette. Lulu. Nipper. Paddy. Orly. Brownie. Bijou. Byng. Avery. Tiger. Barkley. Wiggins. Sidney. Those are some of the real-life dogs who’ve departed on my watch.”

Craig MacInnes, in an opinion piece for the Ottawa Citizen, says he, for one, has seen enough dogs die during his life. Why go to the movies to see it again?

“Figuratively speaking, dogs rarely make it to the end-credits of our human lifetimes, preceding us to the hereafter in what is surely Nature’s cruelest, most screwed-up plan. Innocent, loyal and trusting, they are rewarded for their blind devotion with a lousy 10 to 15 years, while we get to dither and careen through seven or eight full decades, a journey collectively freighted by the nagging ache of all our losses.”

MacInnis, after seeing a little too much dog death — real and cinematic, starting in childhood with with Old Yeller — has launched his own personal boycott against movies in which the dog doesn’t make it to the end.

“I have a lifelong aversion to movies about dogs in peril, or worse, movies in which a beloved canine protagonist doesn’t make it to the closing credits.”

A real dog death in the family is difficult to cope with — the pain from his most recent, in 2003, still reemerges every February, he says — but movie dog death, in a way, is even nastier.

“Movie pain is different, which is to say it’s more insidious because it is calculated, by the devious pathos merchants in Hollywood, to achieve the thing dog lovers wish to avoid at any cost: confronting animal loss.”


Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time December 26, 2008 at 12:54 pm

I agree with Mr. MacInnis completely and will probably not be going to see “Marley and Me” for that reason. Apparently my parents, or at least my mother, felt the same way years ago about “Old Yeller.” I simply wasn’t allowed to see it as a child. I also think I see what the reviewer in the other post meant when she said a “long, flat arc.” I loved the book “Marley and Me.” But Marley’s decline and eventual death, seemed to take up too much of the book. I could see the first hints of it, and after that, with every turn of the page, I was steeling myself for the inevitable end. It was a fine book, but it might have been a bit shorter. I can see it being unbearably sad in a movie. All this made me think of a poem of Kipling’s, “The Power of the Dog.” So I looked it up:

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.